Ningbo, China, August 29, 2010 - USA won their third FIVB World Grand Prix title with a perfect 5-0 record by beating Japan in straight sets in their last match of the final round at Ningbo Beilun Sports and Arts Center on Sunday. In front of about 4,000 spectators, USA won 26-24, 25-20, 25-23 to capture their Grand Prix crown in style.
It was in blocking where USA made the biggest difference, winning 15 points on blocks against Japan's three.
FIVB World Grand Prix
Aided by two pass errors from the USA, Japan went 4-1 ahead in the first set. When the Japanese widened the gap to five points at 11-6, USA coach Hugh McCutcheon was forced to call a timeout. It succeeded as Logan Tom sparked a 9-2 run for USA to go 15-13 up. Although Japan then managed to regain their lead, Ai Yamamoto made a mistake at the net to award USA the set point before a Heather Bown block finished off the set 26-24.
Japan also started well in the second set, taking an early lead of 3-1 and going up 8-7 into the first TTO. But USA gradually took control as the Japanese struggled at the net in front of the impenetrable wall presented by Foluke Akinradewo, Jordan Larson and Bown. After establishing a comfortable 16-11 lead at the second TTO, USA never looked back and eventually closed out the set 25-20.
The third set was a very close affair, with the lead changing hands a number of times. No team could break away until when the teams were locked at 17-17, a important judging decision put USA 18-17 in front. These seem to dampen Japan's morale and USA took advantage to surge ahead 24-19. But the tenacious Japanese women didn't give up and staved off four match points before USA converted on the fifth with a Larson drop shot from the middle.